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Drought spurs call for federal help

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Drought spurs call for federal help
Soaking rains have fallen in parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta but the precipitation has not been widespread enough to quell concerns regarding the drought-like spell crippling much of the Prairies this summer.


July 7, 2009
By Cassandra Kyle | Saskatoon StarPhoenix


July 7, 2009 – Moderate to heavy rains in northern Saskatchewan and northern Alberta helped to maintain crop conditions, while conditions remained dry across the Prairie provinces, the Canadian Wheat Board said Monday.

Scattered rain fell in the dry areas of central Alberta last week but it occurred too late to significantly improve crop conditions, the board said.

In Saskatchewan, the west-central portion of the province — including the areas around Kindersley and Rosetown — is experiencing the worst of the drought.

Crop conditions have prompted the National Farmers Union (NFU) to ask federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz for a formal assessment of the drought affecting the Prairies.

"On behalf of the National Farmers Union, I am making the formal request for the federal government to initiate an assessment," said NFU president Stewart Wells.

The union says current drought conditions on the Prairies are serious enough for an assessment to take place under the federal AgriRecovery framework. AgriRecovery, the NFU explained, contains a passage that says the federal government may initiate an assessment under circumstances where an event is national in scope and a request for an assessment has been made by a national organization.

Asking for help from the feds